Our flight from Montreal to Halifax left at 11am. The airport was pretty quiet with no one at check in and very few people at security as well. We go through all of those very quickly and we found ourselves at the gate by 9am with more time to kill before our flight departed. Montreal is an interesting place in that everything is in French first. Everyone talks French to you and only when you clearly show you can’t understand them do they switch into English. 50% of people in Quebec can only speak French and 95% of population speak French which is higher than you would even find in France! Signage is first in French and then in English. It really is dominated by French.
Nova Scotia though is entirely different. Definite European influence. The Scottish links (not surprising given the name) are clear throughout Nova Scotia with numerous towns sharing names with Scotland like Inverness. The flag of Nova Scotia looks very similar to the Scottish flag as well. Apparently the land was originally given by King James of Scotland to William Alexander (the poet) to colonise and explains the strong Scottish influence even until today. 30% of the residents today have origins in Scotland.
We landed in Halifax at 13:46 – that was the scheduled time of arrival. Pretty impressive from Porter Airlines to land exactly as planned. First time flying on them and I was impressed by their efficiency and friendliness. It was a small prop plane (first for K) but comfortable seating (despite being quite narrow) and generally a comfortable and easy flight. Luggage and collecting the car went smoothly and then we headed out for our destination for the next 2 nights – Lunenberg. The drive took one and half hours but we did stop midway through for some lunch at Tim Hortons. It is a Canadian fast food chain which is well loved by Canadians.
We arrived in Lunenberg at just after 4pm. Unfortunately the weather isn’t great. Very overcast and raining on and off. Around 18 degrees C. We are staying at the Rum Runner Inn (https://www.rumrunnerinn.com/). From our wanderings around the town, it definitely seems like we picked the best place with the best view.
As the rain abated, we decided to do a walk through the town and also pick a dinner place. It is not a very extensive town so you can walk the main road (which is the road our inn is in) in about 10 minutes I reckon. We even managed to walk to a grocery store at the end of the town and bought some breakfast stuff. The town definitely seems run down and in need of some TLC. We assume it is the impact of Covid. Canada was shut through two tourist seasons (2020 & 2021) and only really now is opening up for tourism. There are number of stores standing empty that clearly never made it through Covid. A town of this nature, which is fueled by tourism, clearly was very effected by the lack of tourism. It is a shame to see because you could see that it could be quaint. We keep comparing it to Boothbay Harbor in Maine and it is falling short in every aspect.
We wanted to have dinner at one restaurant (after checking them all out) and when we went back there, they said the wait was at least 30 minutes. We decided not to wait but rather to try another place and so we headed to the Fish Shack (http://www.southshorefishshack.com/) instead. Much more casual and rustic. You order upstairs and then get a table downstairs. Everything comes with fries (which were really nice and in a large quantity). We all had something different – fried scallops, lobster roll, fish burger and fried haddock (if you know us you could match the food to the person relatively easily). By the time we were finished eating all of us were feeling tired and so we headed back to our Inn and to bed. I tried my best to keep awake as long as possible but only made 8:20pm (H made 9:30pm) but the good news is that we both slept through the night and I woke 5:30am and H at 6:15am.
Weather today looks worse than yesterday at the moment. Very misty and overcast so hoping it will lift somewhat so we can go do some exploring in the surrounding areas.
Until tomorrow (or later depending on my energy levels!) …
P, H, S & K